Senior brass lead Senators past Belchertown, 62-47
ORANGE–The Mahar boys’ varsity basketball team has enjoyed quite the start to their basketball season. First they took down the Western ranked Easthampton Eagles, then the long rivaled Athol Red Raiders and then on Friday night took down the perennial Belchertown Orioles 62-47 to move to 5-0 going into the new year.
“We’re going to go into the new year undefeated and I don’t know if that is even important but we’re playing good basketball,” said Mahar coach Chad Softic. “That’s a good team we played tonight. I thought our offensive execution was as good as it’s been all season and we got some great efforts tonight.”
Mahar’s senior brass of Jack Temple, Quinn Gervais and Sam Paul all scored 11 points while Matt Jenks scored 12 points and Brennan Mailloux scored eight points to round out their efforts.
“Love the balance of the scoring tonight,” said Softic. “It makes it difficult for teams to defend us when everyone is chipping in. That’s fantastic and it all starts in practice. We had a great practice (Thursday) and everyone was there, everyone was focused and you play the way you practice.”
Temple had his best night of the season, scoring 11 points and adding eight rebounds. He asserted himself underneath the hoop, especially in the third quarter when he muscled his way towards the basket and put the layup up to move the Senators’ lead to 33-29. He then used the same move two times in a row to move the Senators’ lead to 15 and 17 points at 49-34 and then 51-34.
“He was also assigned (Mitch) Medina to shut him down as well, so he had a tough defensive assignment and offensively he was very efficient, just did a great job on the glass and just happy for the kid,” said Softic. “He works hard at practice, has a good attitude and he’s a good athlete.”
Medina averaged 28.4 points per game going into Friday’s game and totaled 142 total points so far on the year. He scored 17 points against the Senators.
The two teams played it close in the first half before the Senators scored seven straight points to go up 27-19. The two teams then traded points until the Senators had the 31-24 lead going into halftime.
The Orioles scored five straight points to start the third quarter, moving the Senators’ lead to three at 31-29. The two then traded baskets to make it 33-31. Mahar then pulled away, using a 14-3 run to go up 47-34 at the end of the third quarter.
“First of all, it’s patience in our half-court offense,” said Softic. “Shot selection hasn’t been great, but I thought tonight it was outstanding, especially in that stretch. Patience, letting the kids run their sets, we kept our shape well, waited for our screens and with that we got easy looks.”
With the Senators up 55-40 with 3:08 left in the game, the Orioles strung three straights baskets and one free throw for seven straight points to move within eight at 55-47. Gervais then netted a layup for the Senators and Jenks put together five straight points for the Senators’ 62-47 finish.
“Not a very good stretch for us there right around the three minute mark,” said Softic. “We lost defensive assignments, we got a little ragged defensively and honestly (Belchertown) called a timeout, I only had one left, and that helped us to regroup to be honest. We were getting a little scatter brain there.”
The Senators face Frontier Regional in their next game on January third on the road. The Red Hawks are 0-4 on the year as of Friday night.